A little over a month ago, I posted the following diary to Daily Kos: I need to find a permanent or foster home for my cats. This was the most difficult diary I had ever posted, about life circumstances that resulted in the most difficult decision I had ever made, that of surrendering ownership of my pets.
Much to the joy of life partner Lonely Texan and myself, this diary garnered attention from many fellow Kossacks, who offered encouragement, hope, and practical advice on how to find a safe home for Sam and Woody. I received helpful tips on where to go and what to do, as well as offers from kind people to house the cats, had all other efforts fallen short.
To all those who tipped and rec'd the diary, and especially to those whose comments bolstered my resolve to insure that Sam and Woody avoid living in a shelter, this diary is for you. I am glad to report that these fine critters now have a loving and safe new home! The story of how this happened is just below the orange hairball.
My action plan to find Sam and Woody a new home consisted of:
* Printing and distributing flyers that contained images as well as information about the cats, and along with posting these in selected areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, I dropped many off at offices and businesses (veterinarians, groomers, shelters, and pet stores).
* Composing a 2-minute video of Sam and Woody, and posting it to youtube:
* Regularly repeated posts on Facebook, and connection with friends, many of whom were as equally invested as I was, in finding Sam and Woody a new home.
* .... and also, regularly repeated posts on CraigsList. This is where I finally made an initial connection with the people who would eventually become Sam and Woody's new parents.
I make it a point to mention that, and especially with CraigsList, it is a bad idea to post an ad that says "Free cats available!..." Though none of the early ads I had posted stated that Sam and Woody were "free," the ads did lack something that is crucial in deterring predators: an adoption fee. For anyone who is unfortunate to the point of having to give up their pets, it is recommended that an adoption fee of $25 at the bare minimum be requested of anyone who is seeking to adopt a pet. This information was kindly offered to me by an anonymous CL user who had viewed one of my early ads, and had taken the time to email me the reason why such a fee should be posted.
Since posting the previous diary on Daily Kos, I conducted the work listed above, and had received a handful of queries from interested parties, to no avail, until two weeks ago, when I had received for the first time not just one, but two email responses from CL users who had seen the ad and video of Sam and Woody. I replied to both interested parties, and included my personal email address along with information requested.
One of these two parties continued to follow up with correspondence. Now the process of finding my cats a new home had revealed needs for trust, and from both parties. As the person who was looking at the eventuality of surrendering my pets to people I did not know, my need was to know these people better, to be able to determine that they would indeed be capable and caring owners. At the same time, the new owners had needs and questions of their own, about the cats' behavior, health, and general well being.
For the better part of a week, I maintained correspondence via email and phone contact with the prospective new owners, a young couple engaged to be married as it turned out (!), who live in a western suburb of Chicago. I asked them questions about their experience of owning pets, and of their interest in Sam and Woody. From there, I offered to exchanged friend requests (i.e. profile information) on Facebook, and they agreed. Having examined their FB profiles and noting both history and consistency among their connections, I arranged a meeting, so that I could get to know these two people better, while they in turn could meet Sam and Woody.
The young couple arrived at the cats' then-foster home, and we had a friendly sit-down in the living room, where Sam and Woody both wasted no time including themselves, and further enamoring themselves to the new owners. I showed them the cats' favorite toys, and demonstrated how both cats were trained to respond to the sound of a human whistle. "How are the cats with being picked up?" was asked, and I gave a careful demonstration of how to do this with Sam, who loves to be held, but whose claws very easily hook into fabric.
Along with the fun stuff, I provided documents showing that both cats were up-to-date on both vaccinations and FIV testing, along with their basic diet plan... nothing too complicated, just a matter of avoiding kibble, and keeping them on a twice-a-day wet food regimen, ideally turkey-based. Following this wet food plan had enabled Sam to go from a hefty 14 lbs. to a more svelte 11.5. "It keeps them from being sedentary in their grazing" was the reasoning given to me by the veterinarian who had last examined Sam.
To these two new owners, I cannot express enough thanks, the very least of which is to tender the adoption fee to a Chicago-area animal rescue shelter. These kind people had not only set out to adopt a senior cat, but were very willing from the get-go to adopt both of these older kittens-at-heart.
My thanks also goes to online and meat-world members of the Daily Kos community, especially the PWB Peeps, whose encouragement helped me to search wisely, to keep my chin up in the process, and to eventually make contact with the best, ideally-suited parents for Sam and Woody.
10:15 PM PT: After an hour or so of engaging the much-appreciated comments here tonight, Lonely Texan and I sat down to watch Grave of the Fireflies (1988). Now revisiting this diary tonight, and seeing that at some point, this made the Rec List. Many thanks to you all! My joy over this is only outdone by that of Sam and Woody, a pair of fun furry companions for many years, having a good new home.